Monday, July 21, 2014

Are You A Target?

Stick Figures Tell Total Strangers with Criminal Intent Too Much
Find out Why. Read More

Ever wonder how robbers pick homes to rob? It usually isn’t impulse. The important thing is to avoid being a target.  What are the ways we make ourselves a target?

*Checking in at various locations via your smart phone. Anyone with social media knows where you’re at and it’s not at home.

*Broadcasting your vacation plans before or while you are on vacation via social media. Plenty of time to post after you get back.

*Big events announcements such as a wedding, funeral, even graduation can lure a burglar to your house. A house sitter or a neighbor would be helpful on these occasions.

*Bought a new television or computer? Cut up the box as opposed to leaving it whole beside the trash can. You might be excited about your new toy, but no reason to advertise to would be burglars.

*Do you have sliding glass doors? If so, use the pole stick in the door to keep uninvited guests out. This is the number two method of burglars entering a home.

* The favorite entry is through unlocked doors. Many people, especially those with children, leave doors unlocked when they leave. Not on purpose, the children who have been running in and out of the house left them unlocked.

* Lock second stories windows do not assume they’re unreachable.

*Change your garage code if it is 000, 1234, 2345, 9999, etc. An enterprising robber can go through a quick series of common numbers.

*Know your neighbors. Bold burglars showed up with a moving van systematically robbed a swanky neighborhood. They would occasionally change out the moving van for a white panel van. The neighbors never expected anything even though they watched the robbers load all the goodies into the van. Staying current with the neighbors would have alerted them of any moving plans or not.

*Got vanity license plates on your car? Con artists are very fond of these because it demonstrates a strong need for attention and the belief that the owner is special. These are key elements for a face to face con.

*Stick people on cars, especially if they include sports figures. Your son’s football helmet with his name identifies that he’ll be at practice or games. It isn’t hard to look up school games and knowing when the family will be gone.

*Pedophiles can use the stick people to shop for potential targets, especially if emblazoned with the child’s name. (Of course, a mini-van is hint enough you have children.)

*Being nice & talking to strangers. Remember your mom always warned you about strangers. Con artists approach people who are nice to them. Those who rebuff them are saved the trouble of trying to get out of a too good to be true deal.

*Don’t Expect a Free Lunch. Ever found yourself in a resort city and been approached by timeshare rep offering you free or reduced tickets for a few minutes of your time. First, it will a daylong ordeal, leaving you little time to use the hard-earned tickets. Using your AAA discount is a better solution.

*Secure Your Valuables- This no brainer is true for any time.  Traveling-hide your valuables, lock your car, and use the hotel safe. Often robbers aren’t always strangers. With this in mind, keep your valuables locked up. Often prescription medicine can be the item targeted as opposed to grandmother’s pearls. Be aware of who is in your house from maid service, handy men, etc. Once something is missing, it’s gone. A high deductible would cancel out any benefit of even registering a claim. Often insurance companies refuse to pay, especially if the house was unlocked or you have no proof of purchase of the stolen item.

Your best bet is try not to be a target.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Freebies for Bored Children

Summer Freebies & Almost Free Activities for Bored Little Ones
It’s summer and the children are bored! If you are a work at home mom, dad, or even grandparents. It’s hard to know what to do with children during the summer. Here’s some ideas that work well with the under 12 set.

Library Book Club-Not only can the children improve their imagination by reading, but the library offers incentives and often in-house programs.

Free Movies- Many local theaters will offer morning children’s movies one day a week during the summer. This is a time the theater wouldn’t normally be open. Look in your paper or online for details. Many parks also have outdoor movie night.

Museums-Most museums have one free day. You’ll have to research the ones around you. (Indianapolis Museum of Art is free, except on Monday when it is closed.)

Parks- There are usually trails and playground equipment.

Picnic-Eat lunch outside

DVDS- You can borrow them free at the library. Get Christmas movies and have a Christmas in July marathon.

The Sprinkler- Introduce the children to the old fashion fun of running through the sprinkler. At the most, it will only be on for 20 minutes. You can also put it close to anything that needs watering.

Sidewalk Chalk- This is a dollar at the Dollar Tree. If you have a budding artist, this will entertain for a long time.

Time Capsule- All you need is an old popcorn tin or even a good size coffee can with a lid. The children find items they think represents right now. It can be items they’ve cut out of the newspaper. Have the children write letters to their future self.  Make predictions. Seal the can with tape and bury it.

Bubbles- If you don’t have any, these are also a dollar at the Dollar Tree. Make nighttime bubbles by cutting open glow sticks and pouring the liquid into the bubbles. Glow sticks are also available at the Dollar Tree

Board Games- You may have to supervise a few before the kids get the hang of it.

Outside Games- This can be anything from catchers to bike riding. Teach the kids a few of the games you loved when you were a kid.

4-H- This club is more popular in rural areas, but it kept my children busy for a couple weeks preparing their project they should have been working on all year for the 4-H fair.

Cooking- Let the children to help you cook or allow them to think up a meal. I will admit the peanut butter sandwich & pudding banquet was decent.

Create Books- Small ones can draw a book with crayons or cut images out of magazines or newspaper. This does wonders for the imagination. Older children can write or type their stories.

Science Experiments- Here a site that uses items you probably already have at home.

Gardening- A packet of seeds is all you need to start.

Exercise-it is important to set goals. Your child might want to try to walk a mile.  Start with increments to build up endurance and a sense of accomplishment.

Have a Yard/Garage/Tag Sale- This is a sneaky way to get things cleaned out and earn a little spending money for all the things that aren’t free.

Puppet Theater- Socks without partners and a permanent marker equal sock puppet. Remember you do have to watch the show.

Summer Camp- Many scouts and church organizations have camp scholarship for those who can’t afford to pay. You do need to apply early.

Vacation Bible School- If you’re okay with the idea of church this is a great summer activity. Some are better than others are. The emphasis should be on fun as opposed to forcible conversion.

Once you start thinking outside the television box, you’ll be surprised what you’ll discover. J

 Read your local paper or website. My kids entered a free riding lawnmower contest with the prize being a trip to Disneyworld. They didn’t win, but a neighbor kid did. They still had fun.